“They're leaking braincells, if they had any to begin with.”
“I'll take it from here. An open threat, at least, we're allowed to act on,” Amaya said from the other end of the line.
Ulf pulled the cord to his hands free to make sure the mic didn't fall outside his coat. “Yes. Thank you Amaya.” He didn't ask how far she had gone in her own manhunt. That topic was taboo.
Damn, had forgotten how early spring comes here. This was definitely something that was better in Japan than Sweden.
“Urufu, you stay out of this from now on, hear me?”
“Yes Amaya. I'm not going after armed crazies.” Should have thought about that last summer. Damn, what a moron I was. “Don't worry.”
“You always make me worry,” Amaya said. At the end of that sentence her voice warmed up somewhat. “I know you're over fifty, but you're still the son I never had.”
He had long since stopped thinking of her as his daughter. His mother? No, but Amaya was still his senior in ways he could never understand. Almost ten years spent watching Japan's underbelly gave her a view of society he just didn't have. With that realisation came a respect he had shamefully enough not given her for over a year.
I've been so bloody full of myself. And look where it brought me. Lost it all in the end. He firmly shoved that whiny thought back into a recess of his mind. Not all. I still have my friends.
But he was breaking apart. He knew that. Working just as hard as Christina only gave him so many hours of sanity and no more. Spring break. I'll heal during spring break. That was less than three weeks away, and exams should occupy his mind before that.
After he finished his call he returned to his books. These days Ulf pushed the speed at which he learned written Japanese. A few months more, and the results should be obvious. Or they already were. He read books for middle schoolers without much problems now and had already started on more mainstream fiction.
At the moment he went through English, or rather he went through their Japanese translations, most of which Kareyoshi-sensei had got correct. As far as Ulf was concerned, 'most' wasn't good enough for a teacher, but if he wanted to boost his grades he had to answer in the wrong way that his teacher preferred.
Fuck this place! But with the old goat preparing for his retirement, incompetence was acceptable as long as it went hand in hand with authority.
Oh well, next principal is bound to rein the moron in, or else it'll show in the central exams. At least club hours were enough to rectify the worst of Kareyoshi's insanities. Which also was why Ulf prepared a lesson in history making use of all vocabulary and grammar constructions expected to be tested during the upcoming exams.
Yukio and Kyoko should show up any moment, and Ulf needed Kyoko, what promised to be professional layout a few years down the line.
Ulf lined up a few parallels between English and Japanese history. Both nations firmly locked onto islands helped; similarities followed along geographical reasons, and there were enough strange contrasts to merit a conversation as well.
Flipping between pages he gave a thankful thought to his sixteen year old eyes surpassing the fifty year old ones he got used to. Now he could run four minimalistic screens, swapping between them with his finger-tops and with but a flick of thumb and middle finger he zoomed in on a part that needed changing. Amateurs used their index finger for that; it was needed to switch screens.
While bluetooth still sucked, mostly due to Neanderthal interfaces, it still was the preferred way to access secondary speakers.
Some downloads and digital violence a few months earlier allowed Ulf to push data over bluetooth and HDMI simultaneously. Sure, the Seattle produced operating system tried to convince him otherwise, but in the end it was only a matter of the size of the digital sledgehammer applied. Anyone who didn't give up when faced with Slackware Linux the first time learned that the hard way. Ulf's first time had been pre commercial Internet.
The sound of bells chiming trickled through the door had him look up from his laptop, and Ulf grinned when Yukio and Kyoko arrived. He had a little something to tell them before he put them to work.
“Yukio, hand me your phone! And Kyoko's.”
Two frowning faces gave him their phones.
Ulf quickly downloaded his last gift from Amaya.
“OK, this is a piece of new digital candy for the both of you. In fact I've installed on my unit as well, and I'm having Amaya lean on Christina as well.”
“What does it do?” Kyoko asked and cut to the chase.
“Punch it like this during a phone call and you'll have the Hammer of God descending on the other side,” Ulf said and showed. He didn't say it also immediately tried to crack its way into the offending phone. I never knew they had that kind of software installed in the stations.
Something rather insidious interfaced as the legit phone-operator before handing traffic over to legit channels. A lot easier to do with the phone-company actively assisting with the installation. That part Amaya knew nothing of. Ulf used her name without asking first.
Bastards! Kyoko and Yukio are my friends! He'd screw the suckers over so badly they'd want a new one when he was done. A promise to Amaya to stay out of it all was worth so much and no more.
“Get back to me from time to time to get upgrades,” Ulf said. At least partially true. To get updated databases installed was the real reason.
Whenever that phone went online he got more data, and every phone number, Line-address, email-address, well, pretty much everything it contacted on a list he had made. And everything those points contacted, and those contacted in turn. Ulf had a data analysing tool trimmed according to his specifications. Anything even remotely circular contact-wise got snooped permanently. Whatever circles of friends, relatives and contacts that arsehole had were subject to brutal and extremely illegal surveillance.
Don't fuck with someone who was there from the start!